All of our Taverns-To-Go are constructed using the best of quality, pressure treated, yellow pine lumber - suitable for outdoor use all year round.  While the chemicals in pressure treated lumber prevent rot and ward off insects, they don’t prevent moisture from seeping into the wood, which over time can cause the wood to become cracked, splintered and warped.  For this reason, we strongly encourage customers to seal their new bar on site after assembly – however, read below to understand the right time to do this.  Additionally, a sealer can provide UV protection to slow the rate at which your bar color fades.  

While the pressure treatment process does provide a certain degree of protection, sealing your pressure-treated wood will help it to look better and last longer.  There are many combination stain/sealers on the market today.

When should I stain my Tavern-To-Go?

Pressure treating uses water to force chemical preservatives deep into the wood. Recently pressure treated lumber will have a high moisture content and may take several weeks to dry. Staining pressure treated wood is ineffective if the wood is still wet.

To determine if the wood on your bar is dry enough to stain, try the “sprinkle” test. Sprinkle water on the wood: if the wood absorbs it within 10 minutes, plan to stain as soon as possible. If the water beads or pools on the wood surface, the wood needs more time to dry. 

Choosing the right stain...

It’s a good idea to consider a lighter-colored stain on a new Tavern-To-Go, which gives you the flexibility of applying a darker color in the future. A darker stain might complement older pressure-treated wood by hiding imperfections.


Wash the Wood

  • Unless the bar is entirely new, you’ll need to clean the surface free of dirt before finishing, so the wood stain doesn’t trap any imperfections. Allow it to dry before staining.
  • Wash the pressure-treated wood with a deck cleaner, scrubbing the wood surface with a brush while wet. Use a pressure washer if the wood has tough stains. 
  • Allow the wet cleaner to soak into the wood for about 10 minutes or to manufacturer’s directions. 
  • Rinse thoroughly with a garden hose or pressure washer. 
  • Allow the wood to dry 24 hours before applying stain.

 Preparing to Stain

  • Stain needs time to absorb into the wood but dries quickly, so avoid applying the stain in direct sunlight. 
  • Before applying the stain, use tarps or painter’s tape to protect areas near the wood such as plants or the house's siding as needed. 
  • Dry brush the wood one more time to remove any leaves, dust, etc. that settled when the cleaner was drying. 
  • Stir the stain thoroughly before application and pour into a paint tray. 
  • Apply the stain to a patch of wood to confirm that you like its color and appearance.

 Apply the Stain

  • Stain the pressure treated wood using a paint pad applicator and/or paintbrush.  We don't recommend using a spray gun. 
  • Usually no more than one coat is needed. Expect the butted ends of lumber to accept more stain.
  • Use caution when applying the stain to the ship lap boards to ensure overruns do not penetrate the ship lap.
  • Allow the stain to dry for at least a day. 

 How to Paint Pressure Treated Wood

Because of the pressure-treating process, exterior paint is less likely to adhere to pressure treated wood and more likely to peel. Some experts advise staining or sealing over painting, but paint can be successfully applied by following extra precautions (as per the photos some of our customers have shared). 

  • Allow the wood to dry completely and otherwise prepare the same ways you would when staining. 
  • To help the paint adhere, use a bristle brush to coat the surface with a primer designed for exterior use on pressure treated wood; 
  • Using a brush, apply at least two coats of latex paint to see best results. 

 How to Seal Pressure Treated Wood (without a stain)

  • Most exterior stains contain some sealant to protect the wood against moisture. 
  • If you want to showcase the natural wood grain and color while ensuring a higher level of protection, consider a clear sealant to protect the surface. 
  • A product that combines stain and sealer adds both protection and pigmentation, but sealants are not recommended to be used on top of stained wood. 
  • When sealing pressure treated wood, choose a product designed to be UV repellent.
  • Apply sealant using the same method to apply stain.

FINAL TIP!  We also recommend using a Polyurethane seal as a final coat on the bar counter top!